Information in Society

Information Studies 200, UCLA  Fall 2000

Monday 16:00-18:00, 1222 Public Policy Bldg

(discussion sections Monday 14:00-16:00 245/228 GSEIS and 18:00-20:00 1222 Public Policy)

taught by Howard Besser and Rod Cave

assisted by Special Reader Kalpana Shankar


"Examination of processes by which information and knowledge are created, integrated, disseminated, organized, used, and preserved. Topics include history of communication technologies, evolution of literacy, development of information professions, and social issues related to information access."

This is the basic introductory course to the social and professional history and implications of our field(s).  You will learn about the rich history of information and the important role that information professionals play.  Approximately half the class will be devoted to important issues facing the profession today (most of those involving broad socio-political issues).

General course information

  • According to the course catalog, this course is scheduled to meet for 2 hours/week of lecture and an additional two hours/week of discussion. All student will meet together during the Mondays 4-6 PM lecture.  Half the students will meet in a discussion section immediately before the lecture (2-4) and the other half will meet in a discussion section immediately after the lecture (6-8).  There will be a break of approximately 20 minutes between the sections and lecture.
  • Course Reader -- Most of the readings are either on the Web, in the Course Reader, or in Coyle's Information Highway Handbook.  Please purchase the Course Reader at Westwood Copies at 1001 Gayley Ave near Weyburn (Westwood) as soon as possible.  And  please do the first set of readings before the first class session.  Purchase Coyle's Information Highway Handbook at the textbook store, from ALA, or at another bookstore.
  • Discussion Sections -- Discussion sections (approximately 40 students/section) will meet for 2 hours/week.  Each section will be broken down into smaller discussion subgroups (about 8 persons/subgroup).  For the first hour of the discussion section, the students will meet within their 8-person subgroup and discuss the reading topics for that week.  Each week a different student will be responsible for moderating that 8-person discussion, and should prepare more extensively in order to effectively lead that discussion.  During the 2nd hour of the discussion section, the 40-person section will re-assemble as a whole, and a representative of each 8-person subgroup will report back to the group as a whole.  The 40-person group will continue to discuss the topics highlighted by the representatives of the subgroups.
  • Weekly course topics, readings, and schedule
  • Grading
  • Assignments
  • Office Hours
  • Howard -- Monday 3-4 in 241 GSE&IS Bldg and by appointment (
  • Rod --Monday 10-12 in 231 GSE&IS Bldg and by appointment (
  • Kalpana -- Wednesday 9-11 in 231 GSE&IS Bldg, and by appointment (

  • Grading


    Weekly Course Topic, Readings, & Schedule

    Oct 2 | Oct 9 | Oct 16 | Oct 23 | Oct 30 | Nov 6 | Nov 13 | Nov 20 | Nov 27 | Dec 4 | Dec 11

    Oct 2--Introduction--Social Theories of Information

    this week's lecture notes and  sample assertions

    Oct 9--History, Orality/Literacy

    recent news item
    Discussion focus for this week

    Oct 16, Oct 23--Publishing ("The Book", traditonal pub, electronic pub?)

    Oct 16 -- Guest Speaker Sid Berger, Director, California Center for the Book
    Discussion focus for week of Oct 16
    Schema of the publishing cycle
    Discussion focus for week of Oct 23
    Publishing issues raised by evening Discussion Groups

    Oct 30--Access

    Nov 6--Institutions/Professions

    Nov 13--Free Speech/Censorship/Intellectual Freedom

    Discussion focus for this week
    Lecture notes for this week

    Nov 20--Intellectual Property

    Discussion focus for this week

    Nov 27--Privacy

    Guest Speaker:  IS Professor Phil Agre on Privacy
    Guest Catherine Brown briefly speaking on the Mentor Program
    Discussion focus for this week

    Dec 4--Design

    Dec 11--No Class

    Final Paper Due (for those writing about Design)

    To see ongoing activities and course taught by Besser click here. To send email to the entire class, write to

    Last updated